There was a time when a person who experienced a drug overdose was taken to a hospital via an ambulance, and the last thing that his family members expected was to be released without providing any kind of treatment. Health care was good. Health care was right. Unfortunately, gone are those days.
Fast forward several years. That person who overdosed is currently 30 years old, and has been presently dealing with anxiety and depression for several months. He remembers that when he was taken to the hospital, he wasn’t turned away. He was cared for properly, irrespective of whether or not it was a physical or emotional illness. This no longer happens in Australia. People are being turned away by the minute. This is literally what is happening in Australia and the Australians who are suffering from mental illness are not getting proper treatment.
A senior lecturer at the University of Sydney says that the majority of the psychiatric organizations in Australia were all closed down in the 1980s due to the abuse and violation of human rights. Just 2 institutions replaced them and the other psychiatric wards of general hospitals were all closed. These lecturers have reported to the journalists that it can be safely claimed that the mental health system of Australia is broken.
People who are living with different types of serious mental illnesses usually have the lowest life expectancy rates in the whole nation, living between 10 and 32 years as compared to the general population. In spite of the numerous awareness campaigns and other funding measures, besides the rigorous efforts to combat against the stigma, this gap of life expectancy has never vanished over the last 3 decades. It’s pathetic.
More than three-quarters of homeless people are currently living with some kind of mental illness and around one-third of them have been impacted by several extremely bad disorders. Half of the 40% of the prisoners are also afflicted with mental disorders and around 10-20% of them have severe illnesses which need to be treated right away. Currently, Australia is investing more than $15 million per week to allow people to get access to renowned psychologists through their Better Access scheme, which offers rebates for 10 appointments per year. It’s a start but the truth is that $15 million is a joke. The situation is dire and will require a heck of a lot more than $15 million in allocated budget.
The awful reality is that there are numerous people who are being turned away and who are not even admitted to the hospitals to provide them the initial care. In the grand scheme of things, $15 million won’t help many people. This is why more and more Australians are taking the self-help approach. This involves reading guides through which they can initially help themselves fight their mental diseases. This isn’t an ideal situation, especially for people with severe issues. However, they are left with no other choice as access is extremely limited. There are several self-help resources, with a lot of information on the internet and several charity organizations also that guide Australians. For example, this blog covers different topics regarding mental health. Similarly, The Mighty has numerous blogs on people dealing with different issues and how they cope with their issues. While every situation is unique, these blogs are helping people gain a different understanding and angle on a problem they are dealing with.
People shouldn’t have to rely on self-help blogs, no matter which renowned psychologist writes the articles. People need face to face professional support. It’s time for Australia to get serious about their state of mental health, lest they end up like the epidemic in America.